I have been blogging off and on for the better part of 16 years. I created my very first website on Geocities (I really am telling my age now…) and evolved from there. My general brand of blogging has always been personal vignettes and observations about life. I successfully documented all of my college years and developed a little bit of fan base doing so, before blogging was the “in thing” to do.
Then something happened…..blogging became mainstream. It became about the views, likes and the money. It became about niches and more focused blogging. I literally felt edged out of something that I loved as a fun hobby. I thought too hard about posts. I betrayed my own thoughts about my own feelings about topics, whig led to…nothing. Absolutely noting. No blogging. No writing. NOTHING. I put down something that was fun because I was afraid that people wouldn’t like me. But I realized something. I feel better when I get all my thoughts out on paper and out of my head. Most importantly, I have something to say.
So allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Kathryn. I am a 32-year-old newlywed. I am under-employed and questioning everything about life, love, and the world. I love music, books and coffee (lots of coffee!) I follow politics and I scream at the TV during football games. I am a Southern girl through and through. Welcome to my world, the good, bad and the ugly….but dressed up really nice.
October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month. I didn’t know that something like that even existed until 2012. It is something that I bring awareness to every October because it is an issue that I hold near and dear to my heart.
On September 6, 2012, I gave birth to a baby born way too early. I was only 23 weeks along at the time. Every time I go back to that day I think “one more week and I would’ve been at viability…..I wonder if he would have made it…” That was my first (and only) pregnancy and it was filled with complication after complication. What ultimately happened was complications with high blood pressure and an amniocentesis which caused me to go in to pre-term labor early. That week is one of the hardest week that I have ever have to go through. It really is a lot more grief than I had to go through with losing my mother. Although that one was a hard pill to swallow, she had cancer and we had time to prepare for that loss. It was unexpected. The loss of a child however is not. One of my dear friends posted a picture that summed up everything that I have felt and have wanted to say for 2 whole years.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss touches 1 in 4 people. I never knew that. When you are going through it, you feel as if it is just you by yourself. Which brings me to……
1. You are not alone in your loss. When I shared on Facebook that I lost my child, the response was overwhelming with friends that had gone through the exact same thing, but had never shared or talked about it. It seems as if it is easier to talk about when you are talking to someone that has experienced the same thing. I have so many renewed friendships just due to that one more thing that we have in common. I was just talking to a co-worker today and learned about her losing her first child. She asked if I had any children and my hesitation was what had her share her story. It’s amazing what a “community” that we are.
2. Grieving is a LIFE LONG process. This is so true. You’d think that you wouldn’t grieve hard over someone that you never got to meet, but you do. The bond between a child and a mother is so INSTANT. Whenever I think I am okay, I see my friend’s son, who was born a week after my original due date and I lose it all over again. Not that I don’t love seeing her son, I just think that they would be the same age right now.
3. Heartache is a physical pain. Now this one I don’t agree with. It’s not physical for me. It may have been at the very beginning, but it is much more mental than anything else.
4. One does not simply “get over it.” The worst thing that I heard in the world was from my dad. I took only 3 weeks off from work after delivery. (My doctor was fully prepared to come up with reasons why I needed a full maternity leave for FMLA purposes for my job. She was awesome.) at the end of the first week, he was telling me how I needed to go back to work because I couldn’t grieve forever. He was lucky that this was by phone because I’m sure I would have thrown something at him if he was in my presence. I needed those full 3 weeks in order to be able to be around people. “Getting over it” still hasn’t happened and probably won’t.
5. A new baby does not replace the other. Because I am not trying to conceive at this point, I wouldn’t know. I’m sure that this is true, but a new baby would be awesome.
6. It’s OK to not be Ok. This is a lesson that I have had to learn. I am used to being strong and being the one that people can lean on when they are going through things. Feeling helpless is something that I don’t do well. It feels weird. I had to learn that it is normal to tear up at diaper commercials and at random times. It’s okay to fall apart. It’s normal.
7. Babies exist even if not born. It’s not okay to dismiss the memory of that child. He was still a person.
8. I will forever and ever love my baby. Without question.
9. Grief never 100% goes away. See #5
10. Please don’t judge what you don’t understand. People who have never experienced a loss of this magnitude don’t quite understand what you are going through. I try my best not to get mad, but I feel as though if you have no idea what it’s like you should listen more and talk less.
11. Pregnancy and infant loss can happen to anyone.
12. I hope it never happens to you. I really hope it doesn’t!
13. I thought it would never happen to me.
14. My baby’s memory is safe within my family. My family recognizes me on Mother’s Day with gifts and flowers and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.
15. It never stops hurting, maybe just less often. See #5.
16. Talk to someone SEEK SUPPORT. Find a counselor. Talk to supportive friends. Reach out to family. Do something! Do not try to get over it alone. It’s okay to need help.
17. Cherish each moment. Never diminish the time that you had because of the loss. I enjoyed the wonder of pregnancy and preparing for the child. I never will forget the happy times.
18. Be gentle with yourself. Enough said.
19. Losing a child is not a disease or illness. There is NOTHING wrong with you!
20. Please learn to love and accept the new me. I have lost friends and have experienced strained friendships due to my loss and the timing of my loss so to speak. I wasn’t answering phone calls after I got home from the hospital. I couldn’t talk to people in my face, let alone talk on the phone. There were a lot of people who took offense to my silence. I felt bad about it at first and blamed myself. Then I woke up. If you can’t be a supportive friend during a time of loss, then you weren’t a real friend. Period. Point blank. It was okay for me to not care about anything else but myself at that time. I miss those people, but I am glad I know who they really are now.
21. Please value my child’s life. See #8.
Have you suffered the loss of a child too early or know someone who has?
When I get really in my feelings, I tend to neglect my blog. This is really the time that I need the blog the most. It is my outlet. My place to get out all of my feelings. When I’m stressed out, however, I tend to not get these feeling out. I think that is the craziest thing. I hold everything in like a sponge when I don’t feel as good or confident about myself as I need to. I am MAKING myself get these feelings out. It is necessary and mandatory.
So for what’s worth…..I’m back. Again.
1. I got a raise!! Granted it’s only a quarter raise but it really gets me excited. As down as I get about my job, things like this allow me to at least stay and be comfortable while I prepare for my career. I’m also getting paid GREAT commission for my work. So now I can pay for these classes with no meals being missed. Now if I can bargain with Uncle Sam to at least let me see more of the fruits of my labor.
2. Mother Nature and I are NOT friends at the moment. I’m definitely weary of not knowing what season it’s going to be on a daily basis. I have seen snow one too many times this year to be a Mississippi girl!! It was 70 degrees two days in a row. So here’s to spring….hopefully…..
3. Daylight Savings Time threw a monkey wrench in my sleep patterns. That hour really does matter. A lot. You’d think that I would be prepared by now, but it catches me off guard every time.
4. I have the baby fever again. Like I am obsessed with it. I will be 31 this year. My mind is coming around to trying again. I am still deathly afraid of being pregnant again because of my miscarriage, but I think I’m ready to stamp out this fear.
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. As most people know, this is the 40 days period of preparation for Easter with reflection, repentance, and prayer. Most people fast or give up things for Lent. I am not Catholic but I have fasted and given up thing before for Lent as a way to get closer to God. In the past I’ve given up alcohol, reality television, and sweets. I always make it the 40 days. I feel great about myself for having the self-control and will to do so. I have not necessarily felt closer to God in doing these things. Today while I was reading my devotional, I came across this passage:
And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. -Matthew 6:16-18
And there you have it. I can be honest and say that one of the main reasons I give up things for Lent is because everyone else is doing it. I could tell people what I was giving up and why. Then people would go “oh wow….good luck!” That’s why I never got more than an exercise in self-determination because it wasn’t done in the correct spirit. So this year I’m not giving up anything. I am going to use this period to pray more sincerely and to better my temple. I am going to continue my work on becoming a better Christian and a better person altogether. My walk with Christ i not supposed to be a show but I want people to see Him when they see me and my work. THAT i my focus for the Lenten season.
Are you giving up something for Lent? What is it? What are your preparations before Easter?
I am a black woman who is an alumna of the University of Mississippi. There is a saying that says you never leave Ole Miss. Seeing this quote on the library wall my Freshman year, I never understood why this made sense. I do now. I did my post – graduate work there. Best seven years of my life! I lived Oxford so much that I lived and worked there three MORE years because it is a place that gets under your skin. I love my school. My time there is really why I am the way that I am. However that is challenged on a daily basis.
On Sunday, someone draped a noose and a Georgia state flag around a statue of James Meredith, the first black man to attend Ole Miss. Today people say, “there’s Ole Miss being racist again.” Today I am tired. I am tired of having to defend my school anytime that any thing remotely racit happens there. Am I saying that this type of behavior is okay? Absolutely not!! It hurts me to no end, especially with where my mind is about the Jordan Davis case and others like it. I’m just tired of the school that I love in the state where I grew up being a poster child for racial misbehavior. There are bigots everywhere and I am tired of my school having to take a 20 year step back every time someone wants to be stupid. Are we the only school to have a racist past? No, but our football team doesn’t always win and we don’t send dozens of black men to the NFL……so our penance isn’t quite paid yet. (READ: Alabama).
At work (where there is ALWAYS something red and blue displayed on my desk), I will inevitiably be asked why I love a place that is so racist. To them, I will reply:
- I went to Ole Miss because it made my parents and grandparents proud. I am only a generation removed from when black people could actually enroll without getting shot or coming up missing. II could go there as my first choice and not be scared to death. To go there and thrive, made the sacrifices and struggles they went through seem worth it. They told me so.
- Because I went to Ole Miss, I can feel comfortable in an atmosphere where everyone doesn’t look like me.
- It challenged the way that I look at the world. When your school has a past, you talk about it. A LOT. No professors shied away from it and I think to look at race relations as critically as I did, as young as I was, gave me a foundation in the way I look at things.
I challenge people to make a concerted effort to fight against racism and racist threats. Correct those that step out of line. Challenge the world. It’s everywhere. Not just Oxford.
Today marks 7 years that me and Boo Thang have been together!!! *throws confetti* *twirls around in a whimsical circle*
For the back story, this is not the day that we met, or even the day that we made things official (March 15th). This is the day that we actually stopped pretending and let each other know that we had feeling for each other that went above and beyond friends. Seven years ago today, we set up a trip to a casino buffet to try to get my good college friend back together with his college roommate (which is how we even met to begin with). Though they got back together that night, it was the beginning of the end of that relationship (they are still good friends) and the very beginning of ours. We had a LONG conversation that night about feelings and have been inseparable ever since. Even now we are together so often that his nephew started calling us Uncle JayKat like we were one person. He was about 3 then, but that name kinda stuck with his family.
We have been together through some of the hardest things that we have dealt with: the death of my mother, his stepfather, our firstborn. We’ve celebrating great triumphs: graduations, promotions, raises. THere is no other person that I would rather navigate through life with. We are calling this year a year of completion. It’s that time. Whether it’s an all out wedding or a simple justice of the peace ceremony, it’s time.
This year since our anniversary is on Sunday, we did our celebrating all weekend. We went to dinner last night at Table 100, which is a really lovely restaurant here in the city. I had the shrimp and grits and it was AWESOME!! We also went to movies to see The Lego Movie (we are big kids at heart) and brought it on in. Today is just a rest and relax day……which we cherish so much with all the hustle and bustle of the week. I love love!!